A golf course is an area where golf is played. It is therefore a special form of sports facility . Usually a golf course is designed by a golf architect . Essential elements are tees, fairways and greens (with holes), each of which is covered with vegetation from different types of sports turf . In addition there are the bunkers (depressions filled with sand), water hazards (ponds, watercourses, biotopes or swamps) and the rough (unkempt terrain).
In the 19th century, the word "golf course", from which the German term golf course is derived, did not yet exist. Instead, one spoke of links (golf courses on the coasts) and - initially quite disparaging - greens (golf courses inland). From this, terms such as greenkeeper or green fee are derived, which do not only refer to the putt area, which is now known as green, but to the entire golf course. Since links land was not available in sufficient quantities, more and more inland courses were built in ever better quality, so that a generic term was introduced with "Golfing Course" and later "Golf Course".
Almost all golf courses are part of a golf course which, in addition to the course itself, also contains other facilities:
- The practice area can include a driving range (for practicing long strokes), chipping or pitching greens (for short strokes), putting greens (for practicing putting), and several short courses. With 9 or more short courses one also speaks of a short course, which is intended to enable beginners in particular to take their first steps.
- Furthermore, there is usually a clubhouse with sanitary facilities, changing rooms and a restaurant, the so-called “19th Hole". The secretariat and the pro shop (shop for golf items) are usually located in the clubhouse.
- Other buildings are used by the greenkeepers to accommodate their equipment, in particular the lawn care machines, and the caddy master. This administers the golf carts (electric cars for golfers who do not want to or cannot walk), rental clubs for guests and lockers for members. He also provides certain services such as minor repairs, cleaning golf clubs or (hence his name) organizing the caddy troop, if one is available. However, the latter has become very rare these days.
- Finally, a golf course also has a parking lot, which is sometimes divided into areas for members and areas for guests.
According to statistics from Golf Digest magazine from May 2005, there are almost 32,000 golf courses worldwide. Most of these are in North America, over 17,000 in the United States and 2100 in Canada . Other countries with a large number of places are Japan with 2,440 and Australia with 1,800.
In Europe, most golf courses are in England , 1961 to be precise. Behind them are Germany (801), France (549), Scotland (548), Sweden (451) and Ireland (417). In Austria there are 168 golf courses in Switzerland 79th
The cost of building a golf course in Europe is usually between 1.5 and 5.2 million euros. This does not include the infrastructural facilities such as the club house, practice area or parking lot, nor the equipment required for site maintenance or the acquisition or leasing of the property.
In addition to differences in quality (a factor of two to three between low and high demands), location factors play a major role: Eastern Europe is at the lower end of the scale at 1.5 million euros, while Northern and Central Europe have 2.5 and 2.7 million euros , Great Britain (3.9 million euros) and Western Europe (5.2 million euros) are at the upper end. In the Middle East, the construction costs rise to almost 10 million euros due to the desert climate and the higher demands of customers. One million euros is estimated as the lower limit for a largely self-built, not too expensive space.
The German Golf Association e. V. (DGV) provides its affiliated golf clubs with up to 700 DGV passes per 9 holes (children and young people under the age of 18 are not included). There is no further limitation of the number of members.
Routing and layout
The arrangement of the lanes to each other and the order of play is called the routing of the golf course. If, on the other hand, one speaks of the layout, one means either the internal structure of a single fairway or, more generally, the way in which the golf course was embedded in nature. The number of golf courses on a course is always divisible by 3 and usually by 6: A complete round of golf is regularly over 18 holes, e.g. B. 3 × 6 or 2 × 9 holes played. So there are courses with 6, 9, 18, 27, 36 holes, the most common by far being the one with 18 holes. Larger facilities (e.g. with 36 lanes) often have a separate junior, senior or master course.
Historically, golf courses have developed in such a way that the first nine holes lead away from the clubhouse (“out”) to the most distant point on the golf course. There you turned around and played nine holes back ("in") to the clubhouse. The idea was to play nine holes in the wind and nine holes with a tailwind. As golf developed on the windy coasts of Scotland, the prevailing wind directions were an important factor when planning the routing.
Today the clubhouse is often in the middle of the golf course, so that a loop of nine holes can begin and end there. Every two hours (that's the approximate playing time for nine lanes) you have the opportunity to decide whether you want to stop. Also, players who are looking for a shorter golf experience can only play 9 holes - many courses offer either holes 1–9 or 10–18. With clever planning, 27 holes, i.e. three 9-hole loops, can be built around a clubhouse. This has the advantage that you can hold a tournament on 18 holes and still have nine holes available for players who do not want to take part in the tournament.
Golf courses (also called "holes" for short) are divided into the following categories according to their length:
Par 3 holes
On par 3 holes the player should ideally have holed the ball with three strokes. They are designed so that the player can reach the green with the first stroke. So there has to be a straight line from tee to green. The ball should then be holed with two more putts. The length is up to 229 meters (250 yards ) for men and up to 192 meters (210 yards) for women. An 18-hole golf course usually has four of these short holes.
Par 4 holes
On par-4 holes the player should ideally have holed four strokes. The ball is tapped, lands on the fairway and is then supposed to hit the green with the second stroke. The ball should then be holed with two putts. In this respect, there no longer has to be a straight line from the tee to the green, the fairway can bend once. This kink or a fairway with such a kink is called a dog's leg or dogleg . The length of these lanes is between 230 and 430 meters (470 yards) for men and between 193 and 366 meters (400 yards) for women. Par 4 holes make up the majority of a golf course, typically 10 out of 18 holes.
On par-5 holes, the player should ideally have pocketed five strokes. The ball is tapped, played once on the fairway and brought onto the green with the third stroke. There are also two putts. Par-5 holes can therefore have up to two doglegs, but if they are longer than average they usually lead straight ahead. Par-5 holes measure from 431 meters for men and 367 meters for women. An 18-hole golf course usually has four of these long holes.
Par 6 or more
On very rare occasions there are holes par six or more. This is usually for reasons that appeal to the public, in professional tournaments and also in the semi-professional amateur area, you are almost always limited to par 3, 4 and 5. In Europe there are seven par 6 holes: the longest is hole 17 on the Karlsruhe Gut Golf Park Batzenhof in Germany (740 meters). The second longest can be found at the Penati Golf Resort in Slovakia (716 meters). The third longest is on the course of the Limpachtal Golf Club in Switzerland (666/552 meters), the fourth longest is the eighth hole (660/589 meters) of the Tölzer Golf Club in Germany. Another is on the PGA New Course of the golf club Himmerland in Denmark (621/547 meters), one on the Kungälv Kode GK in Sweden (651/625 meters), one on the day course of the golf club Frühling / Götzendorf in Austria (614 / 594 meters) and one on the course of the Limpachtal Golf Club in Switzerland (666/552 meters). On the Asian Tour in 2005 an over 800 meter long par 6 was played, which aroused criticism from traditionalists.
All figures in this section come from the GCSAA (Golf Course Superintendents Association of America) and were determined using the average of all tournament courses on American professional tours.
A tee ( English tee or tee box ) is the place where the hole to be played begins. The tee is a rectangular area, two club lengths deep, the front and side boundaries of which are indicated by the outside of two tee markings. A ball is off the tee when it is completely outside. The discount is also in another context
a) according to the handicap system, the area of a maximum of 10 meters in front of and behind the measuring point, within which the tee markings must be placed by the game management so that the handicap can be played, and
b) In golf course construction, the actual structure on a hole, which can then also contain several tees in the sense of the system of specifications or the explanation. These teeing areas are rather flat and often easy, sometimes not at all or in individual cases very elevated.
c) the first stroke (from the tee)
To tee off, the golf ball is often placed on a small pin, the so-called tee . The tee is an aid designed to raise the ball above the ground; it cannot be longer than 101.6 mm.
A golf course must have at least two stroke play tees on each fairway. These are referred to as the front and rear standard tee and are marked red (women) or yellow (men). In addition, additional stroke play tees can be set up with a shorter length for players with higher requirements or with a longer length for experienced players. Occasionally a course can also have black tees as championship tees for men, which must be at least 6,300 meters long. It is up to each individual golf club to decide which tees they want to build and evaluate ("guess"). “Yellow” for men and “red” for women are mandatory. All other colors and combinations can be created according to the sporting requirements and the extent of the game. Since the overall length of the hole to be played is determined by the positioning of the tees, the idea is that each player should play from tees that correspond to his playing ability, i.e. neither under- nor overstrain him.
When hitting the ball, damage often occurs on the teeing surface , so-called divots . This damage to the sward is repaired by reseeding and fertilization. The pieces of lawn that have been knocked out should not be put back again, as is usual on the fairway, otherwise the next player could slip if he does not notice the damaged area. In order to load the area evenly, the markings are regularly offset within the area. This means that the length of the individual fairways can vary by a few meters from day to day.
Tees make up about 2% of the total area of a golf course, the grass is cut to a height between 5 and 10 mm.
The fairway is the short mowed area of a fairway between the tee and the green and thus takes up the largest space among the playable areas of the golf course. Fairways can run straight or have up to two doglegs (see the picture opposite). Occasionally a fairway is interrupted by ditches, paths, rough areas, lakes or other elements that have to be played over. In rare cases there are even two fairways that lead to the green on different paths.
The area between the fairway and the surrounding unmowed area is known as the "semi-rough". Although mowing takes place regularly here, the grass is higher than on the fairway and therefore requires a technically demanding golf swing .
For technical reasons of difficulty, the fairways are often equipped with bunkers at strategic points. Since shots from the sand are almost always significantly shorter than shots from the fairway, these fairway bunkers are feared by many golfers. But they are usually so far away from the tee that a worse player cannot reach them at all. In the case of a better player who can take a long tee shot, it is assumed that he has mastered the special technique of the shot from the fairway bunker.
Most modern golf courses include drainage beneath the sward and an irrigation system for fairways and greens. The water consumption in southern countries is up to 10 mm, i.e. H. 10 liters per square meter and is criticized by some environmentalists as a waste of valuable natural resources. Sometimes golf courses are deliberately not or only slightly watered, for example in the run-up to a professional tournament when particularly difficult playing conditions are to be created. In Great Britain and regions with comparable climates there is generally less watering, the players there are used to hard and fast fairways. Elsewhere, especially in the USA, this acceptance is lower; a green and soft golf course is expected at all times.
Fairways make up about 23% of the total area of a golf course, the grass is cut to a height between 8 and 12 mm.
The green is the target area in golf. Here the ball is not hit through the air, but rather rolled with the putter over the green towards the hole.
The area of a single green is around 300 to 1000 m², with the average being around 550 m². The green is cut and watered daily in summer, in winter it is blocked when there is frost, otherwise damage can occur. In this case, substitute greens, the so-called winter greens, are sometimes created on the fairway.
The speed a ball reaches when rolling over the green is determined with a stimpmeter . This is a standardized rail from which a ball is rolled onto the green. The number of feet the ball covers is then the speed of the green. The fastest greens, such as those in Augusta National , can reach up to 14 on the Stimpmeter, but normal are 11–12 in professional tournaments and 8–10 in everyday use.
In order to make the green more difficult, the golf architect built in so-called "breaks". Here the green is not flat, but has small bumps and hollows. One then speaks of a more or less strongly undulating green. The ball does not roll straight ahead there, but is deflected by the breaks and also changes its speed differently than on a flat surface. Accordingly, when putting, you have to aim next to the hole so that the ball rolls in a curve to the target. Determining this curve is called “reading the green”, which requires a lot of experience. Professional players get help from their caddies .
The transition from the green to the fairway or rough is referred to as a semi-green. Here the grass is a little higher than on the green, but you can usually still putt the ball. There are often obstacles around the green that are supposed to "defend the green" (make the face more difficult). Often these are sand bunkers, which can be extremely deep, but water hazards are also common. If the green is surrounded by water on at least three sides, it is called island green. Usually you enter such a green over a bridge, in rare cases even a small boat trip is necessary.
Due to their extremely short and even cut, greens are the most sensitive and expensive parts of a golf course. For this reason, golfers are encouraged to take special care of the green. Damage caused by the ball is repaired with the help of a pitch fork . Below the sward there is a 20 cm thick turf layer made up of sand and topsoil. This granular base layer should allow surface water (rain or irrigation system) to seep away. If this drainage does not work, the green can become so soft that golfers leave footprints and thus make the green unplayable.
Greens make up around 2% of the total area of a golf course, the grass is cut to a height of between 2.5 and 3.2 mm in professional tournaments, and in everyday use it can also be 4 mm.
Special forms of green
When regular irrigation could not be guaranteed, so-called sand greens (also called browns ) were created in many cases in the past instead of grass-based turf greens . These consisted of a layer of sand, including a loamy, tarred or gravel subsurface, which enabled the golf ball to bounce and run smoothly. Every spring these greens were soaked with waste oil and provided with a new layer of sand to prevent wind erosion, precipitation-related mud formation and unwanted vegetation. The line of putt was often smoothed out with a piece of carpet attached to the flagpole prior to pitting. At the beginning of the 20th century, almost all golf courses in the southern and midwestern United States had sand greens, and only newer irrigation techniques made these gradually disappear.
Sand greens are still used today in areas of extreme aridity. This applies, for example, to the world's highest golf course (at around 3500 m above sea level), a 9-hole course in Leh , Ladakh , below the Himalayan massif, which is looked after by the Indian army. For comparison: the highest golf course with turf greens is located in La Paz at an altitude of up to 3342 meters. There are a number of golf courses with sand greens in the Australian outback .
In ice golf the greens are called whites and consist of firmly rolled snow or ice.
In golf, the hole is the target of a fairway into which the ball is to be played.
Such a hole consists of a cylindrical insert made of plastic or metal in the surface of the green, at least 10 cm (4 inches ) deep with a standardized diameter (108 mm or 4.25 inches). In this insert is the so-called flagstick, at the upper end of which a flag is attached, on which the number of the fairway is often written. The flagstick marks the hole on the green so that the golfer can see from a distance which area of the green he should play. Sometimes the color of the flag is also significant, for example it can show whether the flagstick is in the front, back or in the middle of the green. In other cases, the color designates the golf course to which the green belongs, for example if several golf courses are directly adjacent. The flagstick is removed for putt.
Since the lawn around the hole is used much more, the hole has to be moved by the greenkeeper every few days . At another point on the green a new hole is made, in which the insert with the flag is then placed; the old hole is closed with the plug that has been poked out. In addition to protecting the green, the different flag positions ensure variety, as different parts of the green have to be played and you are confronted with different putt lines. In tournaments lasting several days, the flag positions are usually set harder from day to day.
A fairway is also called a “hole” in golf, the bar in the clubhouse is jokingly called “19th Hole ”.
As a rough (the rough) are designated portions of a golf course, which lie between the fairways. The rough areas are only mowed twice a year and otherwise left in their natural growth. They serve as a visual delimitation of the fairway, so that the golfer ideally gets the feeling of moving alone in the great outdoors. The rough, especially if it contains trees and tall bushes, is also important as a safety buffer, as it stops devious balls that could otherwise endanger the players on the adjacent fairway or walkers outside the golf course. After all, the rough also serves as an ecological compensation area for plants and animals. If the rough is particularly high (knee to hip high), it is also known as hard rough, and a golf shot is then often no longer possible.
The transition area between fairway and rough is the semi-rough. It is mowed regularly, but the grass is higher than on the fairway, so that slightly warped balls can be stopped and found in a reasonably playable position. In rare cases there are two semi-rough areas between the fairway and the rough. These are also called “first cut” and “second cut”, with the “first cut” having a cutting height between the fairway and the “second cut”.
Depending on the type of rough, it can be very difficult or impossible to find a ball that has been struck there. Since the golf rules allow up to three minutes of search time and most players stray from the fairway several times per round, lush rough can slow the pace of the game enormously. This in turn reduces the possible number of players and thus the income per unit of time. For this reason, commercially oriented golf course operators are increasingly turning to mowing the rough or even getting rid of it entirely. In such cases, the safety buffer can be implemented using backfill measures along the fairways.
The rough makes up about 70% of the total area of a golf course.
A bunker is a pit that is usually filled with sand and has the special status of an obstacle in the golf rules. Due to technical difficulties, strokes from an obstacle are very demanding, especially for average players and beginners. After the ball has been knocked out of the bunker, the resulting unevenness must be leveled again with a rake lying ready.
Historically, the bunkers developed from natural sand hollows within the dune landscape, which, as links courses, housed the first golf courses. They were hollowed out by wind erosion and animals seeking protection and remained largely free of vegetation. But because bunkers are strategically important and make every golf course more interesting, you can find them on every golf course today.
Depressions overgrown with grass or those without vegetation are often called grass bunkers, but are not bunkers in the sense of the golf rules, but normal terrain. In addition, especially in desert regions, there are large areas of sand that are also not designated as bunkers but as “waste areas” in the site rules.
Fairway bunkers are arranged on the fairway and are at the height of the stroke length of better players. They usually have a flat edge (also called a lip), as you have to make a long, relatively flat punch from them.
Green bunkers are located directly in front of, next to or behind the green to make it more difficult to pass, i.e. H. to defend the green. They are usually deeper than fairway bunkers, so a short, high shot is required here.
To make it more difficult to get the ball out of the bunker, the edge in the direction of play is often raised, sometimes so high that the view of the green is blocked. The so-called pot bunkers, which are deep and narrow and the bottom of which can often only be reached by stairs or ladder, are particularly feared. An old Scottish saying goes that there only needs to be enough space in a bunker for an angry man and his niblick (forerunner of the 9 iron).
Supporters of the punishing design philosophy liked to place bunkers in the middle of the fairway, i.e. exactly on the ideal line. Today's golf architects tend to be more strategic. The player should have several options as often as possible: high risk on the direct route or low risk on a longer route towards the green. Bunkers are then an effective means of varying this risk-benefit ratio.
Light quartz sand is usually used as bunker sand, which glows from a distance. Crushed marble is also used on particularly demanding golf courses. There is often a drainage under the sand , which is supposed to drain off standing water in the bunker.
The water hazard is an obstacle in the sense of the golf rules. This is a marked out area, with the boundary posts either colored yellow (frontal water hazard) or red (lateral water hazard). Typically, but not necessarily, the area contains a riparian zone and water. The water appears in the form of a lake or a stream, which can also dry out at certain times of the year.
As with the bunker, there are technical difficulties when striking, but in many cases the ball has to be given up in advance because it is "wet" (in the water). For this reason, professional players fear the water hazards more than amateurs, as very good players can deliver a passable rescue stroke from almost any position, but not when the ball is submerged in the water. Due to this high risk factor, golfers always try to keep a certain distance from a water hazard, so that they also provide excellent safety buffers.
Artificially created lakes also serve as water reservoirs on a golf course. If some of these reservoirs are evenly distributed over the site, then when an irrigation system is built, there are short paths for the hoses or pipes to be laid underground.
Water hazards are also a source of income for golf ball divers . By draining the ponds or with the help of diving equipment, in rare cases with the help of nets stretched below the surface of the water, tricky balls can be recovered.
Due to several factors, the metric system coincidentally results in a distance of 30 meters as a guide value for the construction of a golf course. The greens are on average around 30 meters long in the direction of play, the fairways are around 30 meters wide and the safety distances between two fairways are usually also around 30 meters. The idealized male golfer with zero handicap, as a planning basis for the golf course, hits his ball from the tee with the driver in average course and weather conditions 230 meters, which is why here (adding two putts) the boundary between par 3 and par 4 holes lies. He can hit up to 200 meters from the fairway, which is why the distance of 430 meters marks the boundary between par 4 and par 5 holes. Accordingly, the unspecified limit between par 5 and the very rare, newer, non-traditional par 6 holes should be 630 meters. The kink of the play line of a dog's leg ( dogleg ) should also be on a fair championship course after about 230 meters.
The places can be divided into the following types based on their prevailing characteristics:
- Left : the traditional type - located on the coast - that evolved over centuries in the British Isles. The main features are sandy soil, dunes and gorse .
- Parkland : typical inland courses, which were often built on former (palace) parks or agricultural land, with well-tended fairways made of lawn (almost always clay) and rich, mostly old trees. Ponds and, more rarely, rivers are also characteristic. This type is by far the most common, as there is suitable terrain for parkland courses almost everywhere.
- Heideland (English. Heathland Course ): a relatively open, less trimmed course with left-like sandy soil and more bushes (heather) than trees (pine, birch). In general, this terrain is regarded as the second best choice after Linksland, but most such areas are under nature protection, so that hardly any increase in heathland is to be expected.
- Moorland: in the raised bog the soil (acidic) and the vegetation (barren) are very similar to the heathland, but it is higher up and exposed to more precipitation. Trees are even rarer here, so the wind plays a major role in these places (most of them in northern England and Scotland). Peatland drains very poorly, as the reason for the formation of peatland is precisely an impermeable subsoil layer (e.g. granite).
- Downland: a type that only occurs in Great Britain is the downland course. This is a chalky and chalky soil, which has similar playing characteristics as the heather, but has poor drainage due to its loamy consistency (see for example the southern English chalk formation ).
- Desert Place (. Engl Desert Course to find a new development, especially in Australia, the US and the Arab world). There is no rough here, the fairways go straight into the desert . These courses require heavy irrigation and are therefore environmentally controversial. They also contradict the traditional idea that golf courses should blend in harmoniously and without major interventions in nature. Nonetheless, this type of desert course is popular with many golfers as it can be very visually appealing.
- Gebirgsplatz ( Mountain Course ): This is partly a marketing term. A mountain course is a golf course in the mountains , but in most cases it is basically a parkland course with an attractive mountain backdrop. However, there is a certain independence at altitudes above approx. 1500 meters, as the balls then fly further due to the lower air resistance. Due to the prevailing topography, narrow, short and very hilly golf courses are often created in the mountains.
- Snow golf : another new type that is played on rolled snow surfaces, often also on frozen lakes, with orange or other brightly colored golf balls. The Ice Golf World Championship has been held annually in Uummannaq in Greenland since 1999.
In addition to the actual fairways, many golf courses also have a practice area that serves to improve the various playing techniques.
This is a large meadow on which medium and long strokes are practiced. When used on one side, this lawn is at least 220 m long and 100 meters wide and, for safety reasons, often widens towards the side opposite the tees. In the case of driving ranges with smaller dimensions, there are high wire netting or nets at the corresponding edges to catch the balls. These space-saving facilities are also called golf lounges and are built, for example, at ports or on piers, such as in Hamburg-Rothenburgsort or on the Chelsea Piers in New York.
Several tees are lined up next to each other and all trainees hit in the same direction for safety reasons. In the case of particularly large driving ranges, there is another row of tees on the opposite side, but a distance of at least 300 meters is required so that nobody is endangered by flying balls.
When it comes to teeing off areas, a distinction is made between grass tees (which are similar to tees on the golf course) and mat tees. The latter are less popular with golfers, but are much more resilient and therefore cheaper to maintain. The tee mats are made of a plastic that is supposed to imitate the characteristics of the fairway . Since you cannot stick tea in the mat, an elastic plastic cylinder is usually integrated, which in rare cases can also be varied in height. In addition to the tee-off areas, there is occasionally a shallow bunker in which the long shots from a fairway bunker can be practiced.
Most driving ranges also have tees in huts that protect against rain and strong winds. In some huts lighting and infrared emitters are installed. These are mostly driving ranges that are open all year round and can also be used in snow. In large cities abroad, there are tee boxes with up to four floors.
The individual tees in the huts are usually 2.5 m wide, 3 m high and 3 - 4 m deep. The tee areas themselves are usually around 2 m × 2 m in size. The huts are also used by golf instructors to install video systems that are occasionally used during lessons. The tees may only be entered from behind, as walking along in front of the tees is life-threatening. Golf balls can fly up to 300 km / h immediately after being hit and would then probably lead to death if they hit the head.
Usually there is also a ball machine on a driving range, which can dispense a bucket of balls in exchange for a coin or a debit from a prepaid card. The golfer can then practice hitting them into infinity or on certain targets (flags, greens). These balls are often of inferior quality for cost reasons and are called range balls. To prevent theft, they have a horizontal ring imprint or the words "Range" or "Practice".
The balls lying on the practice area are retrieved once a day (several times a day on heavily frequented facilities) by a ball collecting machine, washed and returned to the ball machine. The machine is mostly pulled by an old, deregistered car with barred windows to catch the balls. To prevent injuries, the operator is always prohibited from entering the green area, for example for the purpose of collecting balls. Taking or playing with range balls on the golf course is prohibited and, in addition to the usual criminal consequences in the event of theft, is punished with a ban on golf courses.
Chipping or pitching green
These are greens , mostly surrounded by bunkers , where short strokes (less than 50 meters) are practiced. There are several flags with holes on these greens so that every practitioner can aim at their own goal. In contrast to the driving range, you can pick up the balls again here, as there is a much lower risk of injury due to the short hits. Golfers often use their own balls on the practice greens, as these are of a higher quality than the range balls.
This is a practice green that should have the same standard of care and, if possible, the same playing characteristics as the greens on the course, so that putting can be practiced here. For this purpose there is a series of holes with small, stylized flags, which are numbered like the big flags on the golf course. Different breaks make it possible to simulate a wide range of putting situations.
In principle, this is a miniature version of a full golf course. The fairways are typically between 50 and 100 meters long, par 3 holes. Since these golf courses do not meet the criteria to receive an official rating , no tournaments can be played on them, so they are purely for practice purposes. There are also longer short courses, even with par 4 holes, but these are usually operated as full-fledged golf courses and accordingly have official course rating and slope values.
Depending on the choice of location, construction method and type of continuous maintenance measures, the ecological balance of a golf course can be positive or negative. At one end of the scale there are golf courses with such a consistent ecological focus that they have even been approved in nature parks in Germany and awarded environmental prizes. The German Golf Association offers dedicated ecological advice for golf course operators and in 2005 presented a long-term environmental concept for golf courses with the “Golf and Nature” project.
At the other extreme are golf courses in areas where they represent an ecological foreign body and endanger the ecological balance through high resource consumption (tapping of groundwater), the introduction of non- endemic biomass ( sports turf , fertilizers) and the use of pesticides . In emerging countries in particular, this can pose an ecological problem if, for example, the local smallholders are driven out to build a golf resort, the water supply for the local population is disrupted or forests are cut down. In most industrialized nations, however, there are strict requirements for the construction of golf courses.
For an 18-hole course including infrastructural facilities, the guideline area value of 50 ha existed for decades . More recently, around 60 to 80 hectares are required. However, it should be noted that around three quarters of this area is natural rough . If the area was previously subjected to intensive agricultural use or if the alternative to building a golf course is to develop a commercial or residential area, the result is almost always a positive ecological balance for the golf course. In some cases, the building of a golf course resulted in a renaturation . For example, part of the Altenhof golf course near Eckernförde is located in a former gravel pit, which today again has local vegetation. During the expansion of the Emstal golf club, the original heather floor was exposed under the flat, leveled agricultural area and the area was largely returned to its original state: “The result is a golf course that is superbly and harmoniously integrated into the landscape of the Emstal. Where until a year ago bleak, intensively cultivated corn fields dominated an area of 50 hectares, a site has emerged within a few months that is a role model for the integration of a leisure facility into a landscape worthy of protection. "
The actual playing area (greens, tees, fairways) must be watered during dry periods. Since manual blasting of the lawn is not feasible due to the large area, an irrigation system is usually installed on golf courses. Modern systems minimize water consumption through the use of special sprinkler heads, connection to weather satellites and a central control system. The seeping water (especially the rainwater) is collected by an underground drainage system and fed back into the water reservoirs (which are often used twice as water obstacles for the game ). The water consumption for an 18-hole course in Central Europe, which has to be watered during the summer months, is typically around 35,000 m³ per year.
In the ecological ideal case, a golf course gets by with surface water because it often rains or a nearby river flows into the sea, so that water can be safely taken from it. The next best option is the supply of brackish water or desalinated seawater, then the purchase of drinking water and finally the tapping of the groundwater. Efficient drainage can also pose a problem if it discharges large amounts of seeping water that would otherwise be fed into the groundwater.
In the opinion of many experts, the use of sewage water will play a prominent role in the future. The wastewater from industry and households is only cleaned of the most harmful substances in sewage treatment plants, so that in the end it does not reach drinking water quality and has to be discharged into rivers or other bodies of water. However, if this water is used to irrigate golf courses, it is cleaned when it seeps in and benefits the groundwater. The dense turf and high quality soil used on golf courses are some of the best filtration systems for polluted water.
Furthermore, new types of grass keep coming onto the market which, in addition to better play and care properties , were often developed with a view to low water consumption ( Bermuda grass ) or sea salt tolerance (Paspalum). Some of these grasses turn brown in winter, which can lead golfers to misconstrue that the grass is dead and the golf course is poorly maintained. In fact, the playing characteristics of these grasses are identical in every season.
Use of fertilizers and pesticides
There are known cases where pesticides and artificial fertilizers were used on golf courses in a kind of “standard recipe” and practically preventive. In recent years, however, a process of rethinking has begun, so that these funds are only used when needed. For the most part, their use is limited to the greens; herbicides are used less often on tees and fairways. Environmentalists argue that fungicides, herbicides and artificial fertilizers get into the groundwater and into the food chain via insects.
A study by the Central Science Laboratory , a research institute of the British state, found an average application of 0.4 kilograms on golf courses for 1994 and 1995. For comparison: grassland that is not used intensively comes to 0.1 kilograms and cultivated areas for grain to 3.8 kilograms (all quantities per hectare ). If you look at the greens in isolation (approx. 2% of the area of a golf course), however, an application of 15 kilograms results. In comparison, potatoes require 11.7 kilograms and orchards 12.5 kilograms in conventional cultivation.
Wherever the construction of a golf course cuts areas with a very good biotope structure and network, there is a decline in animals and plants, and biodiversity decreases. In other areas where the golf course is located in the middle of sprawled areas or heavily cleared agricultural areas, however, it represents a retreat for flora and fauna.
Ideally, there is close cooperation between nature conservation authorities, the NABU or BUND and the golf course operators with the landscape architect responsible for ecological construction supervision. This approach is still unusual, but the first pilot projects, such as the one on the Urloffen golf course near Offenburg, show a significant increase in species after just a few years. This ranges from endangered grasshoppers and dragonflies to bird species that a few years ago were thought to be impossible on golf courses. There is often a rapidly growing population of the little owl and the pond rail there . Common snipe , bluethroat and white stork have so far been found as food guests. Targeted sport-ecological measures, which the Golf and Country Club Seddiner See carried out in coordination with the responsible authorities and institutions, has tripled the biodiversity on the open area of the club since 1991. For its sport-ecological quality and environmental management according to ISO 14001 , which it carried out not least to compensate for its enormous water requirements (60,000 to 100,000 m³ per year), the club, which had financed a Pelicon system for phosphate precipitation as part of the Seddiner Seen renovation pilot project , received In 2009 the Gold Golf and Nature Certificate from the German Golf Association.
There are also some model projects where “lost” areas (gravel pits, landfills) have been reclaimed for nature. Here, too, the life cycle assessment results primarily from the location, but a variety of supporting measures can be carried out. This ranges from building a stork's nest to the strategic distribution of fallen branches and dead plants. Up to seventy different types of plants can be found in the roughs.
Water hazards have a particularly positive effect on biodiversity. Especially if there was no body of water on the site before, this leads to an improvement in the ecosystem. On the other hand, certain species can also overpopulate if they are safe from their natural predators on golf courses.
- FLL , "Guideline for the Construction of Golf Courses", 2008, ISBN 978-3-940122-14-8
- FLL, “Golf courses as part of the cultural landscape - planning and approval”, 2007, ISBN 978-3-940122-03-2
- Michael J. Hurdzan: Golf course architecture . E. Albrecht, 1999, ISBN 3-87014-090-9 .
- Pat Ward-Thomas, Herbert Warren Wind, Charles Price, Peter Thomson, Derek Lawrenson: World Atlas of Golf Courses . Heel, Königswinter 2004, ISBN 3-89880-386-4 .
- Golf courses in conflict with different interests , Pirmin Knecht, Coordination Office for Environmental Protection, Zurich (PDF file; 370 kB)
- Golf courses - ecologically better than their reputation , Prof. Jürgen Heinrich, University of Leipzig (PDF file; 46 kB)
- Reports from the Institute for Ecological Golf Course Maintenance
- Page 1 ( Memento of March 6, 2008 in the Internet Archive ), 2 ( Memento of March 6, 2008 in the Internet Archive ), 3 ( Memento of March 6, 2008 in the Internet Archive ), 4 ( Memento of March 6, 2008 in the Internet Archive ), 5 ( Memento from March 6, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) of a critical opinion of the nature conservation journal ("There are no ecological golf courses")
- Studies on biodiversity on golf courses  , 
- GolfWorldMap.com , satellite imagery and photos of golf courses around the world
- Geoffrey S. Cornish , Ronald E. Whitten: The Architects of Golf . HarperCollins, New York 1993, ISBN 0-06-270082-0
- Golf Benchmark Survey 2007 . KPMG Advisory Ltd., Hungary 2008.
- From North Cape to Cape Town . KPMG Advisory Ltd., Hungary 2008.
- From Golfpost.de evaluation Gut Batzenhof
- From Politics and Contemporary History B 47/2001
- BUND Annual Report 1997 . Berlin, 1998.
- Mareike Mertens: Studies on biodiversity . Seddiner See Golf and Country Club. Institute for Applied Aquatic Ecology GmbH (Ed.), Seddiner See 2007, p. 20f Part 2: Fauna . ( Memento of the original from June 8, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF; 3.2 MB)
- Page no longer available , search in web archives: Mitteilungen des LFA Mammaliankunde Brandenburg-Berlin, Ed .: Nabu Landesverband Brandenburg, 1/2006, p. 6f.
- Seddiner See Golf and Country Club. Gold for quality and environmental management at Seddiner See.
- German Golf Association e. V. (Ed.): 100 Years of Golf in Germany , Volume 4, Page 125. Albrecht Golf, Oberhaching 2007, ISBN 978-3-87014-274-2 .